Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Local News

May 10, 2013

Centenarians at Park Lane Village share their stories

Being fortunate enough to live to be 100 years old does not seem to happen that often. Having more than one person that age living under the same roof is rare. As for Park Lane Village, which has four centenarians – and one just a couple of months shy of triple digits – there may not be word for that.

The young ladies in question are Mary Ann Johnson (100), Vera Beaver (101), Letha Schakel (103 ½), Helen Roberts (105) and Maxine Lister (99).

Lister, clearly the youngest among them, will celebrate her 100th birthday in July. She was born and raised in Knoxville. After leaving to briefly attend Iowa State University’s teacher college, she returned to her hometown. Through the course of her life, she has had two husbands. Lister said she has been thinking about “going and getting another one.”

She has given birth to a son and daughter. Unfortunately, she lost the daughter to cancer. Lister is also the mother of an adoptive son, Roger Brooks, who still farms outside Knoxville.

“I’m very contented,” she said. Lister passes the time reading and meeting people. Dancing used to be one of her favorite hobbies.

Beaver will celebrate her 102nd birthday on June 17. She has always lived in the Harvey/Tracy area and is a graduate of Tracy High School. In her words, she farmed around Tracy, lived on the Harvey mail route and had a Knoxville phone number.

On the farm, she raised two girls and five boys. The grain and cattle also kept her busy.

“I usually worked all the time,” Beaver said. As for these days, she usually enjoys spending time in her room and participating in some of Park Lane’s activities. One of her best memories she can recall comes from a time she got off the farm and went to England. Things over there were quite interesting to her.

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